Over the course of a career that has spanned decades and covered multiple disciplines, Nancie Janitz has come to one conclusion that overrides anything else she has learned: repetition is a powerful factor when it comes to getting better.
Whether that thing you want to get better at is writing, graphic design, squat cleans, or just becoming somebody who wants to be more “in the moment”, practicing on a regular basis is proven to set you on the path toward improvement.
If you think this sounds like something the coaches at Grand Trunk CrossFit would tell you as you push yourself through a WOD, you wouldn’t be wrong. It’s definitely something that crosses Janitz’s mind when she prepares for a workout.
“For me, CrossFit is not so much an exercise in gaining strength and flexibility as it is a practice,” she says. “I strive to fit CrossFit into my life on a regular basis in order to continue to get better.”
As one of the older members at Grand Trunk, both in age and tenure, Nancie’s quest to stay in shape has run the gamut, from one of the big box gyms you hear so much about, to her current home for fitness at Grand Trunk.
Before settling on Grand Trunk as her final fitness decision, Nancie met Grand Trunk owner, Brooklyn Netherton, when she was a member at a big box gym and Brooklyn worked there as a coach. It was during regular classes when he began to introduce CrossFit movements that agreed with Nancie at that particular point on her fitness journey.
“I was in my early 40s and weighed around 220 pounds when I met Brooklyn, and was also dealing with pretty severe psoriasis,” she said. “He told me to clean up my diet, but I didn’t think it was worth the effort. I had resigned myself to being overweight for the rest of my life.”
But lo and behold, once Nancie took Brooklyn’s advice and started to really watch what she was putting in her body, she lost 50 pounds and noticed a considerable difference in the severity of her skin condition. Combined with the CrossFit-ish movements Brooklyn introduced to his classes at the gym, Nancie was starting to get the hang of how repetition could change her life.
Once Brooklyn and his wife, Diana, left to open their own CrossFit box, it wasn’t a hard decision for Nancie to follow them to Grand Trunk and become a member, even if it meant stepping outside of her comfort zone just a bit.
“Growing up, I was always active,” says Nancie. “I played tennis and did synchronized swimming. I ran. When I lived in San Francisco, it was runner’s heaven with all of the hills to run. It was never a problem to do anything physical, and I made sure to make time for it.”
For Nancie, one key aspect to staying fit and active is that it helps her mentally. Her job in a creative field requires her to keep her brain operating at full capacity, so she knows how important it is to fit CrossFit into her daily routine.
She has struggled with bouts of depression for her entire life, as well, and knows herself well enough to understand that if she doesn’t fit in regular workouts, the depression will do its best to try and interrupt her well-being.
“Whether it’s CrossFit or hot yoga, I try to do something physical every single day,” she says. “I’m not as spry as I once was, but I’m getting to the age where I’m grateful that I’m able to wake up in the morning and have a body that can do the CrossFit movements. That’s a blessing.”
The days of Nancie comparing herself to others in a gym are long gone. She is secure enough in her own abilities to understand that having a competitive mindset at the box is not for her, nor will she take anything positive away from trying to out-CrossFit the younger athletes. She is in it for herself, and that suits her just fine.
“That’s what I love about CrossFit: you’re competing with yourself,” she says. “It’s more a discipline than anything else.”
After five years of staying active at Grand Trunk, as well as the work she put in before she joined, Nancie gets to reap the benefits of being a fit fifty-something woman, and she’s not afraid to embrace them.
“My daughter tells me I’m the healthiest mom she knows, which is nice to hear,” she says. “But having the endurance to do things like shovel snow and carry groceries without taxing myself is worth its weight in gold, and I owe it to Brooklyn & Diana and the community they have founded here.”
Nancie’s relationship with Brooklyn goes back years. But if she has her way, it won’t end anytime soon. She is fully committed to CrossFit for as long as her body will let her do the movements, and she makes sure Brooklyn knows how long she plans to keep at it.
“I tell Brooklyn: you’re going to have to pry the barbell out of my dead hands,” she adds. “I’m going to CrossFit until I die.”